tv [untitled] CSPAN June 28, 2009 9:30pm-10:00pm EDT
secondly, any statements, i ask the front benches stick to their allotted times. i ask also that the back bench members taking part each can find themselves to one brief supplementry question. in the same vain, i hope that ministers replies will be kept to a reasonable leltsdz. finally, i always expect that those speaking in this chamber will be heard so that an atmosphere of calm, reasonned debate will be maintained.
parliament. >> thank you for having me. i can remember my own election like it was only yesterday. but you're quite right. no press today. do you know why? very simply, there is no speaker to preside over prayers but nevertheless, i'm sure the almighty is blessing the proceedings. >> and do you remember now your time when you were elected speaker? >> i do. and i can imagine those ten candidates. their knees knocking. and wanting to get it over with. and this is what happened. however experienced you are on an occasion like this, it is daunting. but of course once you stand up, you give it all you've got. >> what kind of qualities do
you think we should look for in a speaker, especially at the moment? >> they're huge. you can't say this in just one moment. the institution of the commons is a microcox of the british nation. it's full of all sorts of interesting people and the speaker has to weld all these people together. it is a very press didges job. the interests of the members. >> what about being a spokesman to the commons? >> absolutely. >> most people, there's -- >> i call it not a spokesman but a representative. and i think there is a representative role for the speaker in this country, in the city, with our academic institutions, colleges, universities.
>> does someone need to speak up publicly for the speaker to the nation guest: not necessarily. the speaker is a servant of the house. it is not for him to speak. he carries out the wishes of the house. >> first, let's take a look at what's going to happen today. here's james landdale to take us through proceedings. here,s in members lobby, feast your ice. we don't get a chance to film in here very often.
then, at about 2:30 or so behind these closed doors, an mp called allen williams who has basically been around any longer than anybody else, will stand up and invite those to say a few words. the speech is over. now, it's time for a vote. m.p.less file behind, put an x next to your name, and then put the paper into the ballot box. counting takes about an hour, and the result is announced on the floor of the chamber. now, if no candidate gets more than half the votes, what happens is this. whichever candidate came last, he drops out. whoever got less than 33, they drop out. then you have a smaller field and another election. you go round and round until eventually somebody gets more than 50% of the vote.
so you've been elected speaker. you've been dragged to your chair in memory of a few predecessors who have had their heads chopped off. then you have to come up here to get the queen's blessing. you come up here, speaker elect, and then you leave as speaker. then it's back to the speaker's apartment for tea and cakes or perhaps something a little stronger. >> for the first time ever, we'll have a secret ballot. shortly we'll cross over to the house of commons, but before that, they'll have a profession with the sergeant at arms bringing the mace into the chamber.
we'll explain all. but these are unhappy times for the commons. >> they're very unhappy times for people like me, who cherish the commons. i've been very depressed in the last few months. >> what has it done to the reputation? >> it has ruined the reputation of the commons. i have to say to start with that the vast majority of members have not abused the system. you have a handful and i make no excuses for them who have behaved in a most disdishonorable way. now, the political parties, what they have done is set interim measures in place until there is a report by the committee on standards in public life. so that will all be taken care of. i'm not dismissing it. >> the historian has talked about it taking ten years to restore the reputation. >> i wouldn't dispute that. i think it will take two or three general elections before
it can be pulled back. and people are saying, it's the speaker. we want a speaker who is going to do that. it's not speaker who can do that. it's the commons itself. it's fer individual members. they've all got to work together to pull back that great reputation. >> but the last speaker took the rap. people standing up in the commons saying he must go. what did you make of that? >> well, i have to be totally honest with you, it was right that michael martin went when he did. of course i feel sorry for him. he as human being. he has nerves, he has feelings like we all have. but it had to be done. and those members who did stand up, i have to say they were quite courageous to do so. but that's what it's all about. it's a place where you do speak your mind. there is freedom of speech. it had to the be done and it was right that it was and it was right that he went. >> he had complained about
snobry. people didn't like the fact that he was working class. >> rubish. i'm an arist cat of the working class. i came from a humble family. my mother worked as a textile worker five and a half days a week. i left school at the age of 16. come on, don't give me that. if you do the job, and i think michael martin did his best but don't give me any of this business. i'm an aristocrat of the working class and proud of it. >> brilliant. we're coming up to 2:30 and the house of commons said fair well to speaker martin last wednesday. he actually resigned as speaker yesterday. but you can't resign as an m.p. unless there's another job to go to. so he has very kindly appointed michael martin as steward and
bail live to the manor of north rid. however, if you ever find yourself in scar bro, go to the very fine boating lake and you'll find yourself in the middle of the manor of north bay. >> which is the what i took. >> yes. because the children was already occupied. i don't know by whom. and as it was in scar borrow, my home county, always better. >> you represented west bedroomage. >> yes, i was a carpet bagger. i sought six elections before being elected. >> there's a lot of talk now, government ministers talk about -- i think we can go back to the house of commons and we have our pictures from inside the house of commons. and there we see it.
>> her majesty being informed gives leave to the house to proceed forth withto the election of a new speaker. >> in accordance with the provisions, a note for members explaining the proceedings was explained four weeks ago. in a moment i will call the candidates to address the house in the order in which i drew their names by lot earlier this morning. the order of speaking was published earlier today. when all candidates have addressed the house, we'll proceed to the first ballot. >> thank you, mr. williams. all honorable members are by definition experienced campaigners. some campaigns get off to a good start. others suffer setbacks.
one of my first approaches was to a particularly distinguished colleague whom i wouldn't dream of identifying. i asked if he would back me today. certainly not, bercow. you're not just too young, you're far too young. given that in my judgment the speaker ought to be virtually seen nile. [laughter] furp elected, it would -- if you were elected it would be disastrous for you, for the house, and for the country and with that, he slammed down the phone. just in case this is a widely held view, i shall merely observe, mr. williams, that
speakers elected younger than me at 46 actually quite common in times gone by. in the 18th century, speaker grenville was elected at 29 and speaker addington at 32. indeed, both went on to become prime minister. not a likely career move in my case. in contrast, speaker omslow was elected at 76 and stayed in sit u for more than 30 years. not a danger in my case given my commitment to serve no longer than nine years in total. even further back, sir thomas moore was virtually my age when he became speaker, though frankly his rather sticky end
does not fill me with encouragement. but then, again, he is the only member of this house fer to have been cannonized. my own preference is, however, for success in this world rather than in the next. i do not want to be someone. i want to do something. working with colleagues, i want to implement an agenda for reform, for renewal, for revitalization. and for the reassertion of the core values of this great institution in the context of the 21st century. that selection is being held at this moment testifies to the turmoil which is engulfing this place and to the crisis of confidence in parliamentarians
themselves. unless and until we can move the debate on from sleeze and second homes to the future of this house, we shall remain in deep trouble. a legislature cannot be effective while suffering from public scorn. so a strong command of irsic and mays is far from adequate that i'm confident in four years service has equipped me to cope with our over mysterious procedures. there are three four core reasons for offering myself as speaker and i'm pleased to be supported in this by parliamentry colleagues from no fewer than six political parties. conservatives, labe our, liberal democrats, scottish nationalists, welsh, sdlp, as
well as enjoying support from independents of both right and left. first, i would implement radical reforms to the assistance of allowances but i would do so with respect and reverence with parliament itself. this house is neither corrupt nor crooked. but what was meant to be a straight forward system of compensation for members has become immensely complicated, mired in seeksy, and short on accountability. clearly sir christopher kelly's recommendations must be accepted unless they are inappropriate, which frankly i don't expect to be the case. the next speaker must ensure that honorable members and taxpayers alike aren't treated unfairly. this is a difficult balance to strike but it is one that i can both accomplish and
communicate. secondly, the taste for strengthening back benches to revive parliament as a whole is incontra vertible. the true story for the past 30 to 50 years is not one, frankly, of petty claims on the one hand and extravagant claims on the other, but rather of the relentless erosion of this chamber's former strength. the prime minister recently asserted his desire to restore authority to parliament and, if a elected, i would seek to hold him and any successor to that pledge. this house must seize back control of its own core functions by, amongst other changes, a business committee which it really runs, urgent questions more readly granted, and enhanced scrutiny of budgets and legislation both
domestic and european. and once and for all, ministers must be obliged to make key policy statements here. the speaker should always be neutral within this chamber, but he or she should not be neutral about this chamber. if elected, i would be a tireless advocate for our political relevance. so, finally, i turn to the world beyond west minister, reforming speaker needs to become both an advocate and an ambath dor for parliament. he must reconnect it with the society which he seeks to represent. i would be comfortable to be both a speaker and a listener. i make no apology for the views i've expressed, the causes i've championed and the votes i've cast over the years. some may have been incompatible
with others. over a period. as many colleagues are being quick to point out. but even youngish men can acquire wisdom as time goes by. in any case, that is all irrelevant to the role of the speaker whose own political preferences must be permanently cast aside. throughout my 12 years in this house, i have always been passionate about parliament. i believe that we can rebuild trust, and restore our reputation. but only if we make a clean break with the past and demonstrate once again that it is an honor without equal to sit in this house. i am that clean break candidate. i can help this house to meet the challenges ahead, to meet the challenge of change.
we need change. we need change permanently. and we need change now. but i can help to deliver it with you only if you give me the opportunity. i know that it's a tall order. and i'm only a little chap. but i believe that i can rise to the occasion. >> this is the result of the third ballot. 593 ballots were cast. the number of votes cast for each candidate was as follows. john berko 322. sir george young 271. [applause]
>> thank you, my first pleasant duty is warmly to thank on behalf of us all alan williams for the magnificent and good humerd way in which he conducted this election. [applause] it's been a very long day. and those of you expecting a cumly lengthy die tribe will be sorely disappointed. i should like to thank and pay a heartfelt tribute to all of
the candidates who stood in this election. [applause] it has been a constructive debate that we have enjoyed over the last few weeks. i confess that i have the highest regard for all of the other candidates, each brought something to the occasion, each had a contribution to make, and i can honestly say that each made that contribution in the most sincere and constructive fashion. to the great and continuing benefit of this house. [applause] colleagues, you will understand that my thoughts at this time
are, above all, with my family. my wife, sally, our three very young children, oliver, freddy, and jemimea, not to mention my beloved mother who has been keenly interested in the proceedings. colleagues, you have just bestowed upon me the greatest honor that i have enjoyed in my professional life. i thank you from the bottom of my heart for the confidence that you have placed in me. and i'm keenly aware of the obligations into which i now enter.
and i want just to say this about the responsibility of the office. i said only a few hours ago in my speech that if elected a speaker has the responsibility immediately and permanently to cast aside all of his or her previous political views. i said it and -- i said it and i meant it. my commitment to this house is to be completely impartial as between members of one
political party and another. that is what it's about. and i will do my best faithfully and honorably and effectively to serve this house in the period ahead. we have faced quite the most testing times. it has been a grueling experience. many members feel very sore and very vulnerable. but large sections of the public also feel angry and disappointed. we do have to reform. but i just want to say that i continue to believe that the vast majority of members of this house are upright, decent, honorable people who have come into politics not to feather their nests but because they have heeded the call of public
service. they want to serve their constitwents, to improve the lot of their fellow citizens in this country. and for such people i shall always have the highest respect. and it is on that basis with that conviction and in that spirit that i shall seek to discharge my obligations in this office, which i regard as i have said as the greatest privilege of my professional life to occupy. [applause] >> speaker elect, on behalf of the whole house, it gives me the greatest pleasure to offer you the warmest congratulations on your election of the 157th speaker of the house of commons. you join a long and prestigious
history of speakers who have all shared this moment in the election process. for now, however, you await confirmation by the monarch. the house will know that having received royale approval, the longest speaker held this for 33 years. sir john pom upon was the shortest serving eelected. he might have been acceptable to his members, but he was not acceptable to the monarch. let us hope you serve the tradition of the longest serving speaker. the house is carrying out the most important responsibility. the public is looking to see whether we mean to change. and i believe it was clear in all the speeches by all the candidates today for the office of the new speaker that we have taken an important step in that process of change. so may i also pay tribute on behalf of all members of this house to all those members who